Jordan O’Davis: Biography

Jordan O’Davis is a proud Aboriginal woman, freelance dancer, and physical theatre performer based in Newcastle, NSW.

Her training began at the age of four, competing at a national level for ten years in women’s artistic gymnastics before developing a true passion for dance.

Jordan watched a performance of Mathina by Bangarra and decided she wanted to be a dancer. She successfully auditioned for Millabah, the Aboriginal dance troupe at The Hunter School of Performing Arts, and went on to attend the school. As she was struggling with schooling due to learning difficulties, performance and culture seemed to be the things she most connected with so that’s where she focused her energy. She auditioned and danced with the State School Aboriginal Dance Program, run by Bangarra under the instruction of Francis Rings.

At fourteen, Jordan went to audition for NAISDA Dance College (National Aboriginal and Islander Dance Association), located on the Central Coast. They were hesitant to take her due to her age but were impressed by her maturity and dedication coming from years of discipline in gymnastics training, and she was successful in gaining a position.

So she left school at the end of Year 9 and joined NAISDA to study dance full-time. Being too young to live on campus, she had to commute daily – an hour each way on the train, starting at 6 am.

Jordan faced terrible adversity in her third year at NAISDA with the suicide of her best friend, a fellow dancer. She also had to undergo ankle surgery that would stop her from dancing for six months. Although extremely difficult times, she found the strength to continue and committed herself to graduate in 2015 with a Diploma in Professional Performance, being the youngest person in the forty-year history of NAISDA to do so.

At age of nineteen, Jordan would begin her professional career, with her first job touring as a dancer with Hugh Jackman in his Australian tour of Broadway to OZ.

I learnt a lot on this tour, you can specialise in one style of dance but to be successful you to need to be versatile and able to do various styles, so I am constantly trying myself in different things.

In 2016, Jordan joined Stalker theatre, delving into the creative development of Creature: An adaptation of Dot and the Kangaroo. The show has toured Australia for the past three years. Jordan’s gymnastics training really came into play here as she is an aerialist performer. She also toured Australia for two years with The Empire Strips Back, a burlesque parody, before joining Insite Arts doing several tours of China and Australia with a show called Saltbush.

As well as touring with various shows as they come up, Jordan works with Indigenous Hip Hop Projects, going out to remote Aboriginal communities doing youth dance workshops and promoting a healthy lifestyle. She also dances with Buuja Buuja Butterfly Aboriginal dance group in Sydney for events and corporate functions.

Jordan has more projects coming up in the future and also hopes to go to America to expand her dancing. She loves to educate people, especially children, on her Aboriginal heritage and promotes a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Story Contributed by Kathy O'Davis. Published in 2018.